June 4, 2024
Ash Dieback Scheme ‘shambolic’ – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture Claire Kerrane TD has called on Government to urgently engage with the Forestry Sector on the Ash Dieback Scheme, which she described as ‘shambolic’.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Kerrane said:

“Last week, those affected by ash dieback disease protested outside the Dáil on the failed Ash Dieback Scheme, which very clearly, is not fit for purpose.

“Their message was clear – the current Scheme, even with very slight tweaks made to it in recent weeks, is not workable, it is incapable of dealing with the issue of ash dieback and changes to it are needed urgently.

“Once again, the Government have failed to listen to the experts and those affected on what they actually need to deal with this disaster once and for all. And while this is allowed to rumble on, confidence in the forestry sector remains on the floor.

“The grants for clearance are not covering the cost of clearance for some plantations – why should those who did the right thing and did what they were encouraged to do – plant ash trees be left with a bill for removing the dead trees when it was no fault of their own? It is unacceptable.

“The clearance grant cannot be one size fits all, depending on the age of the trees, the clearance costs can vary and this needs to be acknowledged in the Scheme. If it isn’t, trees are going to be left rotting and lives are going to put at risk. This is just one issue with the current Scheme.

“I am calling on Minister Hackett to get around the table with representatives from the Limerick & Tipperary Woodland Owners and the IFA and others to make the ash dieback scheme fit for purpose, as she should have done in the first place.

“If the forestry sector in Ireland is to have any hope at all, ash dieback needs to be dealt with once and for all. All affected trees must be carefully and properly removed as quickly as possible and those who are not interested in re-planting should be allowed to restore their land, as they so wish.”

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